Northern California Science Writers Association

NCSWA weekend at Hastings Reserve, June 26-28

  • Friday, June 26, 2015
  • Sunday, June 28, 2015
  • Hastings Reserve, Carmel Valley
  • 2


Registration is closed

Summer's on its way! Join us on a special weekend at Hastings Natural History Reserve, near the rolling foothills of Carmel Valley.

The reserve's 2,500 acres protect a scenic slice of the interior central Coast Range. Hastings encompasses three narrow tributary valleys featuring annual and native perennial grasslands, oak woodlands, chaparral, and running streams. Wildlife ranges from kangaroo rats to California newts, bobcats to acorn woodpeckers. In fact, the reserve has been the site of a 45-year study on acorn woodpeckers, a social bird that deploys the help of grown offspring to stash acorns in granary trees, help raise new young, and protect the food cache. 

The reserve is also the epicenter of a 35-year study of the phenomenon of oak masting in California. Both projects are led by former reserve scientist Walt Koenig, now at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The reserve is equally renowned for long-term research into western bluebird sociality led by Cornell professor Janis Dickinson. Other studies include the role of ultrasonic calls in deer mouse monogamy, and the deadly nature of black widow spider sex. Established in 1937 as a field station for the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley, Hastings was among the first seven sites to join the University of California Natural Reserve System in 1965. Today, the UC NRS includes 39 reserves and more than 735,000 acres. It serves as a library of ecosystems and offers classrooms without walls for students, researchers, and the people of California.

During our stay, we'll be treated to a talk by reserve director Vince Voegeli. He'll fill us in about the natural and human history of Hastings. Researcher Walt Koenig may join us as well to discuss his longstanding studies of acorn woodpeckers and oak masting.

Hastings isn’t open to the general public, so take this opportunity to explore a landscape untouched by grazing or the plow for nearly a century.

The primitive-plush accommodations include two buildings with bunks and regular beds, plumbing (including showers) and electricity. Attendees need to bring their own sheets, sleeping bags, towels, and pillows. Camping is available for those who prefer the great outdoors. We also have access to a full kitchen.

Saturday dinner will be a big potluck, so please bring or be prepared to prepare a dish. NCSWA will provide spaghetti with red sauce. For other meals, please bring your own food (or better yet, food to share).

Cost is $30/person. The event is limited to 30 people, including kids.

Fri., June 26 - Sun., June 28

Attendees are welcome to arrive anytime on Friday or Saturday and depart anytime on Sunday.

For more information:

Hastings Natural History Reservation, UC Natural Reserve System

Driving directions:

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